What is a Disparity Study?

Disparity Studies are commissioned by an agency to determine whether disparities exist between the availability of firms owned by minorities and women in a market area and the utilization of those firms by an agency.

What is the purpose of a Disparity Study? Why is it necessary?

Disparity Studies are used to determine whether there is evidence of discrimination in the market where the Department makes its procurements that would justify the use of race-based and/or gender-based remedies. Such evidence is necessary to satisfy requirements for affirmative action set by the 1989 U.S. Supreme Court decision in the case of City of Richmond v. J.A. Croson.

What is anecdotal evidence and why is anecdotal evidence collected as part of the Study?

Anecdotal evidence is information that business owners provide about their actual experiences doing business, or trying to do business, with the Unified Government, the Unified Government's prime contractors/vendors, and in the private sector. Anecdotal evidence helps explain and lend credence to statistical findings of the Disparity Study as well as identify whether there are barriers that prevent firms from winning contracts such as disparate treatment, bid requirements, etc. All businesses in the market area are invited to participate in a virtual community meeting. Many will be randomly selected to participate in in-depth interviews or surveys. All businesses interested in participating are encouraged to provide comments about their experiences doing business, or attempting to do business, with the Unified Government by submitting written comments via the Contact Us page or by emailing athensclarkecountydisparity@mgtconsulting.com

Why is it important that business owners participate in the study?

Business owners, both M/WBE and non-M/WBE, that do business, or want to do business, with the Unified Government, are impacted by the purchasing policies and procedures established by the Unified Government. Participation in this study gives business owners the opportunity to provide first-person accounts of their experiences doing business with the Unified Government, their prime vendors, and/or in the private sector marketplace. Input from the business community may direct the findings and recommendations for future purchasing policy changes.

What factors are considered in determining whether disparity exists?

Disparity is calculated in the form of an index. The disparity index is a ratio of the percentage of utilization and the percentage of availability of M/WBE firms. If the disparity index is 100, the utilization of M/WBEs is equal with the availability of M/WBEs in the market area. If the index is less than 80, it indicates that M/WBEs are significantly underutilized by an agency based on the availability of M/WBEs in the market area. An index between 80 and 100 – which is close to full participation – indicates underutilization, though not significant.

What will the Unified Government do with the findings of this Study?

The Unified Government will review the suggested recommendations provided by MGT to determine what modifications, if any, need to be made to the Unified Government’s purchasing policies.